TRENTON, N.J. -- Federal regulators have approved new suppliers for two crucial cancer drugs to ease critical shortages that had been ratcheting up fears that patients, particularly children with leukemia, would miss lifesaving treatments.

There are 283 prescription drugs in short supply or unavailable nationwide.

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it will temporarily allow import of a replacement drug for Doxil, used for recurrent ovarian or bone marrow cancer.

The FDA also has approved a new supplier for a preservative-free version of methotrexate, a crucial drug for children with a type of leukemia called ALL, for lymphomas and for the bone cancer osteosarcoma.

The FDA also has approved the release of a batch manufactured by Ben Venue Laboratories Inc., shortly before it closed several factories at its complex in Bedford, Ohio, because of serious quality problems. That closing was what turned the periodic methotrexate shortage that began in late 2008 into a crisis almost overnight, with fears that kids would begin missing treatments within weeks.

-- AP

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